Inner Voices, Inner Music: The Phenomenology of Auditory Verbal and Musical Hallucinations
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Two-Day Workshop: ‘Inner Voices, Inner Music: The Phenomenology of
Auditory Verbal and Musical Hallucinations’, Durham University, 17-18
Holgate Conference Centre
Grey College, Durham University
“Voice-hearing”, or auditory verbal hallucinations (AVHs), refers to the
experience of hearing a voice or voice-like sound in the absence of an
external stimulus. AVHs are reported by individuals with a range of
psychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and
post-traumatic stress disorder; however, they are also routinely
experienced by so-called nonpathological populations as well. Similarly,
musical hallucinations are anomalous auditory experiences of hearing
music in the absence of an external musical stimulus. Musical
hallucinations (MHs) have been associated with old age, progressive
deafness, tinnitus, dementia, depression, and various psychiatric
disorders—although, as with AVHs, they are also routinely found to occur
spontaneously in the general population. Although AVHs and MHs can occur
independently of one another, their co-occurrence (e.g., in patients
diagnosed with schizophrenia, or artists such as Robert Schumann and
Brian Wilson) is not uncommon.
Hosted by Hearing the Voice, this workshop will be an interdisciplinary
investigation into the phenomenology of AVHs and MHs. It will bring
together individuals working in various disciplines, including
musicology, literary studies, philosophy, psychology, psychiatry, and
neuroscience. The objectives of the workshop will be to work toward a
more refined understanding of the lived experience of AVHs and MHs, to
discuss methodological issues involved in their investigation, and to
indicate future lines of research.
Confirmed speakers include Ben Alderson-Day (Psychology, Durham
University), Chris Chafe (Music, Stanford University), Diana Deutsch
(Psychology, UC San Diego), Tuomas Eerola (Music, Durham University),
Martyn Evans (Medical Humanities, Durham University), Charles Fernyhough
(Psychology, Durham University), James Kennaway (Medical History,
Newcastle University), Sukhbinder Kumar (Neuroscience, Newcastle
University), Edward Wickham (The Clerks), Victoria Williamson (Medical
Humanities, Sheffield University), and Jonathan Berger (Music,
Questions to be considered include (but are not limited to):
*Do AVHs and MHs always, sometimes, or never have the same features of
veridical auditory experience?
*Do these features remain constant in pathological vs. non-pathological
*In what ways might more careful and nuanced first-person descriptions
of AVHs and MHs guide the discovery of data at the neurophysiological
*Conversely, how, if at all, might neurological findings inform the
study of the first-person phenomenology of AVHS and MHs?
*How might the social and historical context shape the way that AVHs and
MHs are experienced and interpreted?
*What are the therapeutic implications of a broader, contextually-
sensitive perspective on AVHs and MHs?
The workshop will have a research-intensive format, structured to allow
for maximum discussion and interaction. It will consist of invited
presentations, commentaries, and musical performances—supplemented with ample coffee breaks and social time to facilitate further engagement.
For more information, please download the ‘Inner Voices, Inner Music’
workshop programme: http://goo.gl/wI0RnG
This workshop is aimed at academics with an interest in the latest
research into hallucinations and other unusual experiences, musicians
and musicologists, as well as clinicians, mental health professionals,
and people who have or work with people who have personal experience of
auditory verbal or musical hallucinations.
Places are limited and registration for the workshop is essential. In
order to register, please complete our online registration form by
Friday 5 September 2014: http://goo.gl/ScDsFi
Registration is free, and includes lunch on both days of the conference,
but please note that delegates are responsible for their own travel
and/or accommodation costs. Full details of accommodation and
information about how to register can be found here: